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Playpen politics

This wall is as blank as most candidates’ platforms. / Brett Nielsen
This wall is as blank as most candidates’ platforms. / Brett Nielsen

We don’t need a candidate so much as a mature candidate.

It’s that time of year again, folks, that time of the school year when the little children who want to play at pseudo-politics come out of the woodwork. With the full list of candidates having been announced, URSU poster boards littered with advertisements in various shades of horrific graphic design now present, and incessant tabling clogging up the Riddell Centre hallway worse than even the vilest disaster in a lab building bathroom, I would like to invite you to the fustercluck that is student elections.

Now, it is not that I dislike those that lead the charge at the Students’ Union (hear me out, please). In fact, I think this past year’s executive has been far more visible than those of years past and some of the initiatives backed by the union – specifically, mental health awareness week – name another year in which the president could be seen long boarding during welcome week.

It’s the campaigning that gets me. The fact that very few of the candidates have anything resembling a platform is more than slightly infuriating. Increase student engagement, you say? And how in the hell do you propose to do that, kind lady or gentleman? Some of the bios sound like they were copied and pasted from the dictionary definition of what not do when running a campaign: Hello, my name is _______ and I want to run for an URSU Position because __(Insert something regarding your personal experiences on campus)____, (a personal tidbit that you seem to think will be interesting to the campus-at-large)_____, and __(shameless self promotion plug goes here)____.

Fear no more, future URSU candidates, come to this very Carillon article to find your formulaic answer to how to get elected, but make sure to never, ever, expand on your points! Keep it as bland as possible! Ask yourself, would any prospective voter be able to discern what in the hell you are talking about? No? Good.

If you are campaigning solely on the idea that you, all-powerful URSU candidate, can be instrumental in decreasing tuition fees, then you, like the many before you, are sadly disillusioned. The same thing goes for parking spots. Sadly, us, the depressed student body, will elect you. We will do so, even if there is absolutely no chance of change.

But who can blame them? There really is no competition for many of the positions. Outside of the three executive positions that are contested, none of the board of director positions have more than one candidate. And so this story comes right back around to the same old problem: student apathy. Spoiler alert, nobody cares.

Even after a year when the Students’ Union was far more visible than in times gone by, there hasn’t been an uptick in candidates looking to fulfill the sparkling duties that accompany such an important position in student government. The only compelling race is between incumbent president Devon Peters (“the only candidate with experience”) and challenger Daniella Zemlak (slogan: “expect more”). Let’s see what happens.

About John Loeppky

I am an athlete with a writing problem, or a writer with a sports problem, you decide. When I'm not editing, playing wheelchair sports, or advocating for the disabled, you can find me de-stressing with friends.